Eventually we stop running


Running away from awful situations is a good survival strategy. It works, simply because in situations of dire stress or difficulty, sometimes it is the best we can do. And I have run away many times, from lots of situations that tired me out or that I could not handle. But running away is only a survival strategy because eventually we have to ask ourselves, “What do I stand for?” and stand for it. Eventually, we stop running.

People who typically run away might suppose that life’s consequences will range from disappointing to catastrophic, and the sooner they outrun such dire likelihoods the better. Being the inheritor of a Presbyterian cynicism with its folk wisdom such as, “If we’re spared”, “It’ll all end in tears” and “mark my words…” in my neck of the woods, being positive and cheerful is sometimes likened to the kind of naivety that is simply begging for trouble. It can be hard to remember that not only does every situation the potential to end well, but sometimes, “bad” outcomes are superb teachers.

As I finally stop running and stand and wait for whatever happens, I don’t have to talk about it. I don’t have to share my intimate thoughts. I can just notice the change. Perhaps, once again, this is the result of ageing: we tend to run when we are younger and fitter, but even as we do that, we are admitting that it is a temporary strategy and that “one day” we will sort everything out. So, maybe that day has come, and it’s an opportunity to do all the things I’ve been dreaming about, take those chances, while I’m still fit enough to enjoy them.

And we do have to stand up for what we believe in, otherwise, what is the point? We can’t always take refuge in daytime television and bags of popcorn.


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